Belmont Trail

 By Joe Feeman

Belmont Trail is an old road that runs from Clear Creek Trail to Upper Clear Creek Road. Although the road is not shown on the original TVA acquisition maps, it can be seen on aerial photos from the 1940s as a farm road. This area was owned and farmed by L.A. Reynolds at the time of purchase. The trail is 1.1 miles and gains a total of about 250 feet in elevation. Usage on this trail has been changed; motorized vehicles are not allowed anymore, but it is open to all other users (purple trail). Beginning at Clear Creek Trail (0.6 miles north of Upper Clear Creek Road), Belmont Trail goes a short distance before you pass by a metal gate, which has been installed to prohibit motorized vehicles. The trail goes up the bottom of a hollow for 0.3 miles or so on a dirt surface and then climbs a steep hill and drops down into the upper end of the hollow. As you reach the bottom of the hill, notice the sandstone rocks along this section, which continue until you cross a ditch and start to climb again. The hollow to the right has sandstone as well and there are scattered flame azaleas, although I haven't seen any bloom for many years. The trail climbs a moderately steep slope that is wet most of the year because of seeps along the road edge. There is an abundance of ferns along this damp section and scattered pink lady's slippers on the road's edge. At the top of this slope the trail bends left and flattens out. The forest along this section of road was harvested by clearcut in 1975 as part of the Longleaf contract. A total of 23 acres was cut.

The trail stays straight for a short distance before making a long bend to the right. You will start to see signs on the left that delineate the safety zone around the rifle range. The trail then starts to descend, slowly at first and then steeply, down a cherty, clay hill. Notice the deep dips in the road which are erosion control structures. You will reach another metal gate just before reaching the trails end at Upper Clear Creek Road. Just past the gate, an old road turns right and goes to Boundary Trail (Joe's Trail 1). 

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